The World Health Organization (WHO)defines maternal death as the death of a woman who is pregnant, or after 42days of a termination of her pregnancy, regardless of the duration and locationof the pregnancy. Death has happened due to, or made worse by, the pregnancy orits management but not from accidental or incidental causes. (WHO, 2004) Defining maternal health has typicallybeen measured against the level of maternal mortality.
Countries use maternalmortality rates (MMR) as an analytic of improvement and progression in maternalhealth. However even with this as a measure, the problem of maternal mortality isonly a small portion compared to the burden of maternal morbidity. For everywoman who dies of pregnancy related issues, twenty to thirty more experience acuteor chronic illness, often with permeant decline in physical, mental or sexualhealth and their social and economic status. (Ashford L,2002) Both maternal morbidity and mortality are estimatedto be highest in low- and middle-income countries, especially among the poorestwomen. (Storeng KT, 2010) The primary cause of death anddisability amongst women of reproductive age in developing countries is from theproblems that occur during pregnancy and childbirth. WHO estimate that almost830 women needlessly die, every day, from pregnancy and childbirth.
Of which only 1% occur in developedcountries. And the overwhelming 99% thatoccur in the developing world is most prevalent in young adolescents living inrural areas. (WHO, 2004).Developed and developing countries hadsimilar rates of maternal mortality in the early 1900s (De Brouwere V,1998). However, as mostmaternal deaths and injuries are avoidable, they have been largely eliminatedin the developed world.These statistics validate that developedcountries and areas with higher income have more robust healthcare structure,the required medical and health care staffing, have more advanced medical technologyand less barriers to overcome when trying to access medical care in comparison tothe developed world.
The most common causation of maternal death in the thirdworld is obstetrical haemorrhage in comparison to thromboembolism in thedeveloped world. India and Nigeria make-up almost onethird of the maternal deaths in 2010. Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan,Sudan, Indonesia, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, Bangladesh andAfghanistan comprised between 3 and 5 percent of maternal deaths. With Indiaand Nigeria making up almost one third of the total maternal deaths in 2010.All the above accounting for 60% of global maternal deaths (UNICEF, W. 2012).